COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update

These have been extraordinary times with the closure of schools around the world and the cancellation of May/June 2020 exams. We'd like to thank you all for the hard work you've done over the past few months to get the Centre Assessment Grades and rank orders submitted to us so we can ensure learners receive grades that are accurate and fair so that they are able progress.

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We will be providing information on the run up to results day so you can support your students take their next steps.

Support for Teachers and Exams Officers

Support for students during summer 2020

Here are further details on how we'll provide results for our International AS/A Level for the May/June 2020 window and what you need to provide.

For those students entered for International AS/A Level exams in May/June 2020, we'll be asking centres to submit a centre assessment grade and rank order for each unit for which students have an entry this May/June 2020. This applies to any unit entry for the May/June 2020 exam series, including for those students entered to re-sit unit(s).

For International A level Law, which follows a linear assessment, we'll ask you to submit a single assessed grade for the subject and a single rank order of students at each grade.

For International AS/A Level exams (except Law), we'll use this information to award grades at unit level for the May/June 2020 series. These grades will also be assigned a notional single UMS (Uniform Mark Scale) mark. The mark will be a single notional mark for all students that achieve the same grade on each unit. This means that this mark can be carried forward towards the total marks required to achieve the qualification grade, for this series and future series, and students can continue with their existing study, exam pattern and progression.

Students who already have a unit result(s) from previous exam series can continue to cash-in these units for a qualification grade for the May/June 2020 series or future exam series.

Centre Assessment Grading and rank order for IAL FAQs (PDF)

View our guidance on Centre Assessment Grades and rank order, where we’ll continue to update you and share guidance and support

For international general qualifications (iPrimary, iLowerSecondary, International GCSE, and International AS/A Level) we've made a number of additions to the October/November 2020 series and some refinements to the January 2021 series for these international qualifications.

These arrangements are available to all students using international qualifications, including new entries, deferrals and students wanting to resit from any previous exam series, including the May and June 2020 series and are subject to demand (see below for further details).

iPrimary and iLowerSecondary - Further to recent communications, there will be an Autumn series, starting this year, for all subjects in iPrimary and iLowerSecondary.

International GCSE - We'll be offering exams for all our International GCSE subjects in Autumn 2020. This is an additional arrangement for 2020 only. We will be running a focused January 2021 series of Mathematics A, Mathematics B, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

International AS/A Level (IAL) - We have added a number of subjects to our existing International AS/A Level Autumn series, including those assessments where the final opportunity for students to sit these would have been in May/June 2020.

View the full list of subject availability and changes for each qualification in the Autumn series:

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Coursework and NEA (Non-Examined Assessment)

In response to the ongoing need for social distancing, we can now confirm the following in relation to coursework and NEA:

  • International GCSE Chinese, French, German, Spanish: Following the same approach as the corresponding UK GCSEs, these qualifications will NOT include the speaking units in the Autumn 2020 series.
  • International GCSE English Language A, International GCSE English Literature, International GCSE Art & Design will be delivered in full, including coursework, in Autumn 2020.

Important dates

The latest exam timetables are now published on our support page Exams Timetables.

Qualification Exam window Entry window opens Entries deadline Late fees* Results
iPrimary and iLowerSecondary 12 October 2020 to 15 October 2020 22 July 2020 29 August 2020 From 30 August (Higher fees from 23 September) 13 January 2021
International GCSE 2 November 2020 to 23 November 2020 19 August 2020 18 September 2020 From 19 September (Higher fees from 17 October) 11 February 2021
International A Level 5 October 2020 to 29 October 2020 22 July 2020 29 August 2020 From 30 August (Higher fees from 23 September) 13 January 2021

*It is important that you make your entries before the deadline date as any qualification subjects without any entries by the above deadline date will be removed and late entries will not be accepted for any removed qualification subjects.

October/November 2020 series fees

As this is an exceptional year, we will freeze the October/November 2020 fees which means that the fees for this series for all general qualifications will remain the same as the fees published for 2019/2020.

Timetabled examinations and special considerations

If students are unable to take an exam within the autumn series due to circumstances beyond their control, their exam centre can apply to Pearson for special consideration for the Pearson Edexcel exam that was missed. The special consideration applied depends upon the circumstances faced by individual candidates.

The best way to make applications for absent candidates is to use the special consideration online tool, which can be accessed via Edexcel Online. For group requests please complete JCQ Form 10 and, along with the list of affected candidates, send to the special requirements team.

For all our qualifications, we follow the JCQ guidelines.

If students are unable to take any exams in the autumn 2020 series, their centre can enter them for a future series. We understand that there may be some instances where students may already have grades banked with us for specific components of a qualification through examinations sat previously.

We are reviewing circumstances in which this may give sufficient information to provide a grade for a qualification being completed in this Autumn series. We will share further details on this shortly.

You can download our autumn series arrangements FAQs:

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2020 has been a challenging year for students, parents, teachers and schools, with the closure of schools, cancellation of summer 2020 examinations and ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19. We understand how stressful this has been.

While many parts of the world are returning to school, we recognise that students around the world are facing different circumstances depending on the local government guidance in place, including some specific restrictions.

Our priority is to support students, whatever circumstance they face, to continue to move forward with learning, assessment and progression. As such, we are making available an autumn series for our international general qualifications, which will run in October and November 2020. This provides an opportunity to take examinations in 2020, with an exam-based grade. The autumn series for international qualifications are open to all students, and we know that they are particularly important for students who deferred or were not able to receive a grade in the summer series.

Frequently-asked questions

I’ve missed teaching time this year, and don’t feel ready to sit exams. What are my options?

We recognise that some students may not feel ready to enter for exams in October/November due to missed teaching time earlier in the year. If this is your situation, please discuss with your teacher and school who will be able to advise you. If this is not the right time for you, future series will be available in January and summer 2021. Find out which qualifications are available (PDF, 0.73 MB) in autumn 2020 and January 2021 series respectively.

I’m worried that I might not be able to sit exams in October/November. What are my options?

Some students may not be able to sit exams in October/November due to continued school closures through this period. If this is your situation, future series will be available in January and summer 2021.

Some students may experience disruption during the autumn series, due to school closures or local instances of COVID-19 outbreaks. If you experience this situation and have been able to sit some exams during the autumn series, your school may be able to apply for special considerations to receive grades. You can read more about these special considerations.

Why are the autumn examinations running? Why aren’t Centre Assessment Grades being used for the autumn series, as in summer 2020?

We appreciate that some students may have queries whether the autumn series should apply the Centre Assessment Grade/calculated grade approach from the summer rather than the usual examination approach. The Centre Assessment Grade/calculated grade approach was put in place as a consistent global response to the circumstances of the summer. As education around the world starts to move towards to its usual rhythm, examinations are an important part of enabling learners to progress – and we have heard from your feedback this year how critical a return to examinations is. We have added the autumn series as an exceptional series in response to customer feedback requesting that students have the opportunity to receive a qualification grade based on the performance in an examination. If the autumn exam series is not right for you, please do refer to future series and the routes above.

Where can I find out more and get support on 2021?

Lots of information is available via our website and we will continue to share further details on arrangements for 2021 assessment on our website. If you would like to get in touch with us, please contact us.

Where can I find out more and get support on wellbeing?

Feeling a certain amount of concern or worry is natural when we encounter difficult or unsettling times. We would like to support wherever we can, from mindfulness practice to safeguarding, and are providing a range of resources suitable for teachers, parents and young people. If you are feeling anxious or upset, please remember to always talk to someone. If you are a student, talking to your family/parent/guardian or your close friends can help.

With the addition of an expanded Autumn 2020 series, we will be running a focused January 2021 series of Mathematics A, Mathematics B, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

View the full list of subject availability and changes for each qualification in the Autumn 2020 and January 2021 series:

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UK Qualifications

Ofqual have published their decision and they have announced that a full suite of exams will take place in the autumn. The timetables for the October and November 2020 exams are available on our support pages for Exam Timetables. Full timings are still to be confirmed and we will update you on this once we have more information.

Ofqual publishes more details on appeals and confirms autumn exam arrangements

Consultation on an additional GCSE, AS and A level exam series in autumn 2020

You may have seen that Ofqual have released the outcomes of their consultation on the changes to 2021 examinations. We are now currently working with Ofqual to finalise what this will look like for our Pearson Edexcel GCSEs, AS and A levels exams next year. We will keep you up to date and share specific details as soon as Ofqual has confirmed those with us. 

For the full proposed changes to the 2021 GCSEs, AS and A levels, please read the announcement on the government website - Exams and assessments in 2021

Pearson have recently consulted on the Summer (May/June) 2020 exam series for International qualifications (International GCSE and International AS/A Level) which closed on 31 July 2020.  The outcomes will inform decisions regarding changes to our international qualifications for 2021, taking into consideration the changes to comparable UK qualifications now published by Ofqual.

We will publish full details of changes to international qualifications (iPrimary, iLowerSecondary, International GCSE, International AS/A Level) as soon as these have been confirmed. 

We understand you may have questions about how the changes to the summer series will affect your qualification fees. We've put together a simple, visual guide to highlight what is included in the fees for General Qualifications (including iPrimary, iLowerSecondary, GCSE, International GCSE, AS/A level and International AS/A Level).

Take a look at our simple, visual guide:

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We made a commitment to pass any net cost savings, where they exist, back to our customers as a credit on account, and we have written to all our customers providing information on the rebate that we will be passing back.

FAQs on General Qualifications fee rebates

We are doing all we can to enable students to take their desired next steps in education including regularly communicating with universities and governments globally about the exam cancellations and our progress in awarding calculated grades. Several universities and admissions bodies have already confirmed that these grades will be accepted for undergraduate entry as with previous years, and that they will apply the same flexibility and fairness to students across all UK, national and international examination boards.

See a selection of calculated grade acceptance statements from global universities:

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Years of hard work goes into developing the knowledge, skills and a love of learning, to gain a qualification that will help student progress. Pearson qualifications include a range of support including, training, online resources and professional development. Throughout these unprecedented times learning continues and we have provided a package of free online resources to support this.

Ofqual have also put together more detailed guidance with answers to frequently asked questions for teachers, parents and students: 

Summer 2020 grades: Guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers (PDF)

In the meantime, if you would like to speak to us directly, you can submit questions through our contact form or by calling +44 (0) 120 4770 696.

Further information and guidance

BTEC information and guidance for international centres

LCCI information and guidance for international centres

PTE Academic information and guidance for international centres

You can submit questions using our contact form. If you need to talk to us about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the effect on your centre and learners, Exam Officers can call us on +44 (0) 120 4770 696.